States including New Jersey, New York, California, South Carolina and Rhode Island have introduced bills prohibiting any infrastructure related to offshore oil or gas production from being built in their state waters. Washington state is considering such a bill, and Maryland has introduced a bill imposing strict liability on anyone who causes a spill while engaged in offshore drilling or oil or gas extraction.
Florida is still under consideration for offshore oil drilling, a top Interior Department official said Friday, contradicting an announcement last week from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke that energy exploration off the coast of Florida was "off the table." The comments from Walter Cruickshank, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management director, came during a congressional hearing where he was grilled by two Democratic representatives, Jared Huffman of California and Darren Soto of Florida. "[Zinke's] statement stands for itself, and we have no formal decision yet on what is in or out of the five-year program," Cruickshank said in response to a question. Cruickshank later said an analysis would have to be done but that Zinke's statements would be taken into account. Zinke was more declarative last week.
NEW YORK – The controversy over drilling for oil in the Atlantic Ocean has been reignited by the election of Donald Trump, and environmentalists and coastal businesses say it could be the first major fault line that divides them from the new president. The Obama administration has moved to restrict access to offshore oil drilling leases in the Atlantic, as well as off Alaska. Commercial oil production has never happened off the East Coast -- and environmentalists consider that a major victory during Obama's tenure. But President-elect Trump has said that he intends to use all available fuel reserves for energy self-sufficiency -- and that it is time to be opening up offshore drilling. While supporters say that expanded oil exploration is poised to become one of Trump's signature accomplishments, environmentalists and other opponents see oil drilling policy as a looming conflict.